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NJ's 'The Jewish Standard' Will No Longer Publish Gay Marriage Announcements

Gay-jew-parade-1-1 A Jewish paper in New Jersey caused a controversy among its readers by publishing news of a gay engagement last week.

Hoping to put the drama to rest, The Jewish Standard's editorial team published a letter today explaining that while some readers were supportive of the same-sex inclusion, the paper's buckling to religious pressure:

Given the tenor of the times, we did not expect the volume of comments we have received, many of them against our decision to run the announcement, but many supportive as well.

A group of rabbis has reached out to us and conveyed the deep sensitivities within the traditional/Orthodox community to this issue. Our subsequent discussions with representatives from that community have made us aware that publication of the announcement caused pain and consternation, and we apologize for any pain we may have caused.

The Jewish Standard has always striven to draw the community together, rather than drive its many segments apart. We have decided, therefore, since this is such a divisive issue, not to run such announcements in the future.

Ironically enough, the editorial came complete with the standard disclaimer: "The views in opinion pieces and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Jewish Standard." In this case, they do...

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  1. Posted on their website, and sent as a letter to the editor


    I am a Jewish, gay man, legally married in California to my partner of 9 years. When I was a boy, my Aunt Bell's only son was going to marry a goy. Aunt Bell was ready to sit shiva for him. My father talked her out of it, pointing out that she was going to lose her son. When Howard died a few years later from cancer, Wanda was with him until the end, and Aunt Bell loved her like the dutiful daughter she had been.

    Aunt Bell chose love instead of "pain and consternation". She was rewarded for it, even in the depths of her sorrow.

    Let's fast forward. Would you also refuse to run a wedding announcement between a Jewish woman and a non-religious man, lest it cause pain to someone who does not know the people and is not involved in their lives? Let's suppose that a secular newspaper refused to run a wedding announcement for a Jewish couple on the off chance that their bigoted readers might object? That would be just fine, right?

    It always amazes me when fundamentalist (or otherwise) Jews manage to come up with excuses for bigotry. Gay people and Jews have been subject to Christian persecution for 2000 years. It is hard to tell which group has been hated more. There is a simple solution for those orthodox Jews who are so bothered by the existence of gay people that even the announcement of their existence causes "pain and consternation".

    It's called live and let live.

    If you don't like gay people-- excuse me, if your religious beliefs are offended by gay people-- don't be gay. don't go to same-sex weddings. If you are so deeply offended that you cannot just skip that particular wedding announcement, then stop taking the Jewish Standard.

    Your problem is solved. The Standard may lose a few readers, but it has contributed to the light in the world, not pervasive bigotry, whether it is admitted for what it is, or dressed up in its Saturday-go-to-Shabbat' drag of "sincere religious belief".

    If the orthodox are so offended by the existence of gay people, maybe they should start their very own newspaper, where they can then exclude anyone they want.

    Maybe they could call it "The Shtetl".

    Posted by: Ben in Oakland | Oct 5, 2010 12:55:14 PM

  2. The real story here is in the Standard's comments. Almost all 145 (Last i checked) were bashing the standard for buckling to the "pressure".

    How many people pressured them to make the apology? I bet 5-10.

    Posted by: Fenrox | Oct 5, 2010 12:55:16 PM

  3. "We have decided, therefore, since this is such a divisive issue, not to run such announcements in the future."

    So it's OK to divide the straight vs. gay Jewish community, but not the open-minded vs. bigoted Jewish community. Got it.

    Posted by: Austin | Oct 5, 2010 12:56:12 PM

  4. That's ridiculous. I sincerely hope they lose a LOT of revenue from people unsubscribing or refusing to purchase their paper as a result of their pandering to the Orthodox community. They don't even allow women to sit at the same side of the temple as men which, from personal experience, is demeaning enough. This isn't going to be something the Orthodox community will ever budge on, unfortunately.

    What I find truly maddening, though, is how the Orthodox rabbis think they have the authority to lecture about how this is a sensitive issue when there are human beings involved who are now being excluded as a result. I can't help but be reminded that it's intolerance like this in every facet of our everyday lives that contributes to teenage suicide. Bullying may have been the primary factor, but these constant reminders that the LGBT community doesn't count, even when it comes to our most sacred of rituals like marriage, is emotionally hurtful to everyone.

    Posted by: Amber S. | Oct 5, 2010 12:57:11 PM

  5. I told them to change their name to The Jewish Lack of Standards.

    Posted by: Chexy | Oct 5, 2010 12:58:26 PM


    Posted by: Rick Sanchez | Oct 5, 2010 1:30:51 PM

  7. And to those of you feeling pain and consternation at being treated as a pariah, an exile in your own community and an unwanted, unloved, disrespected second class citizen unloved by G-d?

    A big FUCK YOU from the Jewish Standard!


    Posted by: TampaZeke | Oct 5, 2010 1:32:36 PM

  8. Well written Ben!

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Oct 5, 2010 1:37:39 PM

  9. Will they still print obituaries of gay teens that kill themselves or are murdered by hate filled bigots?

    Posted by: gaylib | Oct 5, 2010 1:38:07 PM

  10. dress a fairy tale booga booga sky god worshiping fundie in nunery robes, mulla robes, evangelical suit, or orthedox garb

    same crazy different hat

    Posted by: mstrozfckslv@yahoo.com | Oct 5, 2010 1:39:57 PM

  11. Let my people go!

    Posted by: Jack M | Oct 5, 2010 1:48:11 PM

  12. oy vey - how does somebody's engagement cause pain and consternation to someone else unless they were perhaps a jilted party?

    Posted by: phineas | Oct 5, 2010 1:57:55 PM

  13. Fair and balanced! Then they're buckling to a minority, though perhaps not a minority of its readership-- which is doubtful. The vast majority of jews are extremely supportive of same sex marriage, and gay rights in general. However, there are some extreme douchebag orthodox jews who are just as bad as any hardline christian fundamentalist out there. And this is who they're appeasing? Ah, tradition...brain cancer.

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 5, 2010 2:01:02 PM

  14. One of my very best friends is an orthodox mathematician. He understands natural language as I do...in FOPL; and if doesn't translate, it doesn't matter...and besides, I wouldn't trade that chess opponent for the world. He's around my age, and he is strongly opposed to orthodox homophobia; so it's not even all orthodox jews who are united (but most of them are, and certainly all share in the responsibility of their homophobic counterparts as they subscribe, defend, and appeal to the same source of normativity) in this ugly mental disease.

    With religion, you can justify belief in anything (as it all comes down to selective reading), so change your selection criteria for the right thing...ah, but there's the rub--built into the meme is that THIS selection criteria is the true, founded on revelation...so it's quite impervious to rational ethical argument. And, apparently, this is where cosmopolitanism gets off the ground; however, short of providing any reasonable compromise to bigotry and extremism, it offers no practical or lasting solutions for conflict resolution (which one of its leading proponnents, as a gay man, must take cold comfort in). One of the few ways to change the atmosphere is through shaming, and that trades are broader cultural mechanisms.

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 5, 2010 2:38:01 PM

  15. Pain and consternation? What a crock? Hey, Rabbis, you wanna conversation about "pain and consternation"? That's what the orthodox have caused gays and lesbians for centuries.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Oct 5, 2010 2:44:42 PM

  16. wow ...for a peoples who SHOULD "Know Better"..why am I not surpised?

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Oct 5, 2010 2:53:22 PM

  17. Puh-lease.

    All this talk these past few days about confused kids panicking at the age of 13 and killing themselves because being gay is so 'horrible' and then I read about this paper caving-in to pressure from these guys?

    Ugh. I just can't stand it anymore. I need to take a break from the news. Somebody please wake me when all of the old superstitious dinosaurs die-off and the world no longer has to pander to their hateful fears.

    Posted by: 5280man | Oct 5, 2010 3:06:24 PM

  18. Those bilious rabbis in the U.S. and here in Canada are hateful hypocrites.

    No, worse -- Godwin's law be damned -- they are brownshirts.

    When Jews had to wear yellow stars because the Nazis thought they were unfit to be in society, we were beside them wearing pink triangles. So for RABBIS to further the Nazi cause? Bad Rabbis, bad Jews, bad human beings.

    Posted by: Strepsi | Oct 5, 2010 3:32:24 PM

  19. If this decision makes you angry (and it should) you might want to take a look at the Jewish Standard's comments page attached to their announcement. There are about fifty impassioned, thoughtful letters that are pro-gay, pro-equality and which take the editors to task for instituting the ban. There is only one lonely letter in support of it.

    The Jews are the best friends we LGBT people have among those who follow religion. Outside of the hasidim, who are crazy-ass-crazy, the vast majority of secular, reformed and even orthodox Jews are very compassionate and empathetic towards those who are marginalized and who suffer. I would say it is very Christian of them if that wouldn't be terribly offensive! But it does point out that the love for your fellow man that Christians like to talk about is walked by Jews every day.

    Posted by: Christopher | Oct 5, 2010 4:00:08 PM

  20. The Jewish Standard is clearly a paper run by moronic bigots, for moronic bigots. So some orthodox rabbis are offended by gay marriage. Well those idiots believe in a false prophet ie 'god'. They are blatantly stupid, and trying to make the world as hateful as they are. Truly contemptible behaviour.

    Posted by: SteveC | Oct 5, 2010 4:31:19 PM

  21. Fundamentalism sucks--be it Christian, Muslim, or Orthodox Judaism. If you're so bust trying to live to "the letter of the law" that you neglect to have compassion, tolerance, and love for your fellow man, your religion has seriously derailed.

    Posted by: Dback | Oct 5, 2010 5:46:12 PM

  22. Maybe they should not publish ANY wedding/engagement intentions until all the angst and consternation on both sides can be soothed.

    Posted by: grego | Oct 5, 2010 5:51:39 PM

  23. All religions are based on and driven by a sinister compulsion to categorize and control people. This is yet another example. I applaud this newspaper because the fewer connections between the gay population and the hocus pocus black magic bullshit that goes along with all religious fantasies and halucinations the better.

    Posted by: Arthur | Oct 5, 2010 5:53:12 PM

  24. We were just contacted by an insider who explained that they are being threatened by the local orthodox ayatollahs. Either print what we say or we will shut you down.


    Posted by: cornstarch | Oct 5, 2010 6:42:18 PM

  25. What is their actual readership? 100? 1000?

    Posted by: anon | Oct 5, 2010 9:29:39 PM

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